Moving changes perspective on life

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2008

By DIANA PADILLA / Guest Columnist

I never imagined moving to another country, learning a new language and leaving my family behind, but it happened.

Four years ago, my family and I moved to the United States. It was the first time I would ever go into another country, another race and another culture. My dad didn’t tell us about the move until he accepted the offer from the company he was working for. It was all so unexpected. I had heard so many things about Americans that I was scared to come.

But coming to this country, the land of dreams changed me, for I learned many things about this country, as well as myself.

The hardest thing to do was to learn the language. As I was stepping off of the airplane, people would say things to me and I would just nod. I could not understand anything. It all sounded like gibberish to me.

Learning English was amazing! I could now have conversations with my new American friends.

But there was another happening that bothered me.

Since I now understood what everyone was saying, I found out that most of the time, people were really offending me. Some people used to call me “stupid Mexican” and other names. I was put down a lot of times, but I learned to overcome it. I learned to just let it go and that eventually built my character.

As people would ask me about my country, I would proudly tell them everything. I didn’t care if Mexico was and still is a poor country. It is my nation, my homeland, my birthplace. I love it. But just because I am a Mexican citizen does not mean that I don’t appreciate this country. I am thankful of the United States for giving me the chance to live here, to have food in my house and money in my pocket. I love both the country and the people, even if some are discriminating.

I think that everyone should have the opportunity to learn about other countries.

Living in and learning about the United States has changed my life. I have met so many friends, and I have learned to value both my country and this country.

I think that it is very important to have some kind of change in our lives, and moving here to America has, in many aspects, changed me forever.

It changed my lifestyle, and the most important thing that the United States has changed about me was my point of view about other people.

Diana Padilla is a freshman at Pelham High School. She plays soccer for the Panthers